About the Match
Arguably the fact that New Zealand’s match with Afghanistan was lost to the weather was a bigger blow to them than to their opponents. It was a match they were expected to win, and, had they done so, it would have consolidated their lead at the top of the group.
They had earned that by they beat the hosts and defending champions Australia in the first match of the tournament making 200/3 from their 20 overs and then bowling out the home side for just 111.
That 89 runs win gave them momentum and they will be scared that may be lost after a day spent in the pavilion.
Sri Lanka have enjoyed mixed fortunes in Australia to date. In the first group matches, they were upset in their opening match by Namibia, before rebounding with wins over the UAE and the Netherlands, enabling them to top their group in the end.
And they began their Super 12 campaign with a resounding 9 wicket win over Ireland, another group qualifier, by 9 wickets, a result that gave a healthy boost to their Net Run Rate.
However, they were brought back down to earth again by the hosts Australia, losing by 7 wickets in Perth. The match revealed shortcomings in their batting – too many loose shots cost batters their wickets, but also bowling. They had nobody able to restrain Marcus Stoinis once he got going.
They will need to tighten up all aspects if they want to progress.
New Zealand (Form)
Although they began the World Cup as one of the dark horses to win it for the first time in their history, New Zealand’s form going into it has not been that good. They were beaten at home by Pakistan in the final of a tri-nation series that also featured Bangladesh, and they lost heavily to South Africa in a warm-up game.
Whilst the win over Australia was more than welcome, the size of the win took many commentators by surprise.
Sri Lanka (Form)
Inconsistent is the best word to describe Sri Lanka. How else to sum up a team that lost their opening match in the Asia Cup heavily, but then won five consecutive matches to win it, beat India once and Pakistan twice in the process.
That form has continued into the World Cup, with their fans uncertain which version will turn up on any given day.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka Head to Head
The pair have played each other 19 times previously in T20I cricket and New Zealand leads their head to head series by ten matches to eight, with one game ending with no result.
However, when it comes to World Cups it is Sri Lanka who have the better record. They won by 7 wickets in 2007, by 48 runs two years later, and by 59 runs in 2014.
For their part, New Zealand won by 2 wickets in 2010, and after a Super Over in 2012 after the scores were tied.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka Betting Odds
It is a big advantage to both teams that this match is being played in Sydney and not in Melbourne where rain has become a major disruptant for the whose matches are scheduled there.
In a group which could yet come down to Net Run Rate to determine who progresses, the fact that this match is likely to be completed in full with no weather interruptions could be crucial,
New Zealand will feel that the odds favour them. They have the better head to head record, and are playing in conditions which are not too dissimilar from those they are used to back home. And they also have that victory over the Australians firmly lodged in their memory banks.
They also have a powerful incentive to win. Not only are they the only team in the group with three points so far, but their NRR is far superior to anybody else’s. Another win and they can start dreaming about the knock-out stages.
However, Sri Lanka should not be discounted. Whilst they are very inconsistent, as has already been shown in this tournament with the way they lost their opening group game to Namibia, they are also capable of going on winning runs, as they amply demonstrated with their success in the Asia Cup.